The last time the Detroit Lions won this division was 30 years ago. Over those years, they’ve seen some very dark days, including a two season stretch with just two wins in 2008 and 2009. They’ve had just three 10-win seasons since ‘93, and they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. However, things may be finally turning around for this storied franchise under head coach Dan Campbell. With Jared Goff at the helm for another year and an array of weapons on both offence and defence, the Lions may finally be the best team in the NFC North. If they do manage to win the division, though, it won’t be by a large margin, as the North looks to be very evenly matched this year.
Yes, the Minnesota Vikings finished last season with four more wins than Detroit, but if you remember how the team got those wins, it’s clear that 2022’s record of 13-4 doesn’t tell the whole story. The team actually had a negative point differential for the season, and statistically had one of the worst defenses in the league. The star power of Justin Jefferson alone can help a lot of people forget about the issues in Minnesota, but expect a little bit of regression for the Vikings in 2023. Although Alexander Mattison has looked good over the years running behind Dalvin Cook, we’re still unsure if he can play the same role that Cook did. Despite this, don’t be surprised at all to see them in the middle of the race for the NFC North title all season long.
Green Bay Packers
Life without Aaron Rodgers is underway for the Packers, and so far, things seem to be going better than expected. Although it’s only a small sample size in the preseason, Jordan Love has looked solid for the Pack, going a combined 12/17 for 130 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games. With a middle of the road defence that doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, Green Bay’s success this year may depend on how efficient this young offence can be.
Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson provide good options in the pass game for Love, while Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon are both returning as one of the league’s best tandem backfields. I don’t think it’ll be a disaster without Rodgers at all this year, but the strength of the NFC North may prove to be a little too much for these Packers. After all, this is still a very similar team to the one that went 8-9 last year, minus the Hall of Fame QB.
Things are certainly looking up for the Bears, but it might not be their time just yet. Even though we do have them finishing last in the tough NFC North, we expect them to be a considerably tougher team to play against this year. Justin Fields and the offence vastly improved over the course of the season in 2022, but if they want to compete for a playoff spot, they’ll have to shore up the defence. The team ranked dead last in points against last season and 29th in yards against. Again, the Bears are definitely improving, especially with the addition of D.J. Moore, but they’ll be looking like a real contender in a few years once they’ve used the draft picks they got from Carolina for the first overall pick. Better times are ahead, eventually.
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